History of AIAC

AIAC was founded in 1945, in the animated atmosphere of post-war Rome. It was an extremely favorable moment for the creation of an organization that would be a point of reference for the numerous foreign scholars that were still in Rome during the war and those who arrived in the wake of the allied troops.   However, to fully understand the birth of AIAC it is necessary to go back to 1823, when the”Circolo degli Iperborei romani” was founded. This was a group of four northern-European scholars (A. Kestner, O. Magnus von Stackelberg, E. Gerhard and Th. Panofka)  who got together to read the classics and explore antiquities in Rome and its suburbs, in the name of the mythical Hyperboreans who inhabited the frontiers of the known world.

Almost immediately Gerhard, the real force of the association, proprosed a vast international organization which would have the role of directing a scientific review and the publication of monuments. Nottwithstanding the various difficulties encountered, the new Institute of Archaeological Correspondence was founded in 1828,  thanks to the help of the hereditary prince Fredrick William of Prussia. The aim of the Institute was to collect archaeological news through the members in Italy and abroad, and to publish them in the two reviews, Bullettino dell’Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica” and the  Annali. The international character of the Institute was guaranteed by a direction composed of Italians, Germans, French and English scholars and by the protection of Prince Frederick William.  Over time, the Institute, and its library, became a center for archaeological studies in Rome and in 1871 became one of the scientific institutions of the new German Empire. By thus nationalizing itself, it was transformed into the German Archaeological Institute.

Around seventy five years later the principle that archaeological studies be international was proposed again, and the International Association of Classical Studies thus represents the true spiritual heir of the Istiujto di Corrispondenza Archeologica.  With the adhesion of Dutch, Belgian and Romanian scholars to the project that an initial nucleus of Italian, Swiss, American English and Swedes had started to plan as early as 1944, the Association was born. Its intention was to increase international cooperation and cultural community, a reponse by the scientific community of Europe and America to the horrors of the war.  The promotional committee was constituted on the 18th od December 1944 and named as its first president Erik Sjöqvist, director of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies: on the fifth of May 1945 the registration of its Statute made AIAC official.

The primary activity of AIAC was that of coordinating and curating the archaeological libraries of Rome and to act as a point of reference for the diffusion and exchange of information between archaeologists from all countries interested in Classical Antiquity.  In 1946 the first number of the Fasti Archaeologici. Annual Bulletin of Classical Archaeology was published, as the principal expression of the activity of the Association. This publication was intended to collect and publish information about Classical Archaeology as well as no bibliography and summaries of publications, as exhaustively as possible. The review published in all 41 volumes under the direction of Maria Floriani Squarciapino: its publication was suspended in 1997.

Between 1945 and 1953, AIAC took charge of the restructuring and provision of access to the holdings of the library of the German Archaeological Institute, which had been brought back to Rome after the war on the initiative of the International Union of the Institutes of Archaeology, History and Art History, which had been created at the desire of the allies. In 1953, the library was restored to the German Institute, which began its activity anew that year. In 1958 AIAC was made an ‘Ente Morale’ by a decree of the President of the Italian Republic, while the same year the association began to sponsor the International Congresses of Classical Archaeology (the seventh, held at Rome and Naples)  and from then on at five-year intervals: the XVIIth was held in Rome in 2008. The Association also supports the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, the Tabula Imperii Romani,  and the Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani.

To improve communication with its members AIAC created in 1993 the newsletter AIACNews, presented in 1993 on the occasion of the XIVth International Congress of Classical Archaeology, held at Tarracona. AIACNews comes out three times a year, reporting on the activities of the Italian and Foreign Institutes in Rome and publishing profiles of famous archaeologists.  It also publishes summaries of the papers submitted at the “Incontri dell’AIAC”,  monthly meetings of graduate students in archaeology from Italian and Foreign Universities.  These encounters have taken place since 2000, and  move between the different institutes, giving the young scholars an opportunity to meet each other, exchanging the results of their research and create  an international network of young archaeologists.

In the same year our finances allowed us offer an  “AIAC prize” To support the publication of the work of a young scholar: it was awarded to Michael McKinnon for his Production and Consumption of Animals in Roman Italy,  JRA Supplementary Series no. 54.

2004 saw the birth of the heir of the Fasti Archeologici, the Fasti Online Iwww.fastionline.org), after a generous grant from the Packard Foundation.  The site uses representatives from each of the participating countries to gather and upload records of excavations taking place since the year 2000.   The project also publishes the review Fasti On Line Documents & Research (FOLD&R) Italia, which publishes illustrated articles and interim reports on excavations in Italy.  This has since received the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Classical Association and the Roman Society, further cementing AIAC’s ties with the international scientific community and honouring the original aim of the institution, the international communication of archaeological discoveries.

To know more about AIAC’s history consult:

Annuaires dell'AIAC: 1954, 1956, 1958 e 1967.

Annuari dell'Unione Internazionali degli Istituti di Archeologia, Storia e Storia dell'Arte in Roma: 1, 1959-1960; 21, 1979-1980; 24, 1982-1983.

M. Pallottino, Due istituzioni internazionali di studi archeologici e storici in Roma, in Scuola e cultura nel mondo 1, 1957, pp. 44-49.

J.B. Ward-Perkins, The International Union of Institutes of Archaeology, History and History of Art in Rome and the International Association for Classical Archaeology, in Aspectes des Etudes Classiques. Actes du Colloque del la F.I.E.C., Bruxelles 1977, pp. 53-59.

Carrettoni G., Dall’Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica all’Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica, in G. Carrettoni , H.G. Kolbe, M. Pavan, L’Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica, Roma 1980, pp. 11-29.

Coarelli F., Rodolfo Lanciani, Forma Urbis, Roma 1989 ??.

Billig, E., Habent sua fata libelli. Swedish notes on the problem of the German scientific libraries in Italy 1943-1948, in Opuscula Romana 18, 1990, 221-235, in particolare 222-225.

Pallottino M., Introduzione. Un centro mondiale di cultura umanistica: l’Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di archeologia, storia e storia dell’arte in Roma, in P. Vian (a cura di), Speculum Mundi. Roma centro internazionale di ricerche umanistiche, Roma 1992, pp. 9-13.

Pallottino M., L'Assocazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica, in P. Vian (a cura di), Speculum Mundi. Roma centro internazionale di ricerche umanistiche, Roma 1992, pp. 47-52.

Massimo Pallottino e i Fasti Archeologici, in AIACNews n. 4, Marzo 1995

Billig E., Nylander C., Vian P. (a cura di), “Nobile munus”. Origini e primi sviluppi dell’Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia Storia e Storia dell’Arte in Roma (1946-1953). Per la storia della collaborazione internazionale a Roma nelle ricerche umanistiche nel secondo dopoguerra, Roma 1996, pp. 3-16, 85-86.

Articles on Maria Floriani Squarciapino and  AIAC in AIACNews 39-40.

Di Giuseppe H., Progetto Fastionline, in AIACNews n. 38, Maggio 2004.

Di Giuseppe H., Progetto Fastionline. Lavori in corso, in AIACNews nn. 39-40, Dicembre 2004, pp. 1-3.

Di Giuseppe H., Fentress L., Dai Fasti archaeologici ai Fastionline, in Ostraka 2004.1, pp. 129-132.